It’s been almost a couple of years since we visited the Philippines so I got a pretty long food craving list. For a native, there’s really nothing else to do in Manila but eat and go to the mall. The real R&R stuff is best experienced outside the capital. For tourists, the Intramuros and Binondo areas are the best places to visit to get a feel of the Old Manila (where I worked for over 2 years). Sad to say, much of the metropolis has been modernized, galvanized, and traffic-ized. Truthfully, Manila is SO not like any other country in Asia. Would have loved to see how old structures could have been saved and meshed well into the fabric of the new Manila.
So when in Manila, EAT!
I know lots of international cuisines have been making big waves in my country but authentic Filipino cuisine is still the way to go! We stuffed ourselves silly in all those 9 days yet we didn’t make any dent in our food craving list.
Not really a gourmet meal but since we don’t have this in Vietnam, it’s like a novelty to eat here. This was our first stop as soon as we arrived in Manila at 6 am! A breakfast of pancakes, longganisa, and eggs were a perfect way to start off our vacation.
Craving for burger? Quesadillas? We dropped by Army Navy at the Ayala Technohub in Quezon City. It’s a nice quiet place to chat with friends and the back opens to a balcony overlooking the gardens. The front area can be a bit warm during noon till 3pm where sunlight directly hits the spot.
Unfortunately, I was unable to take shots of the Krispy Dinuguan and the Lemon Chicken (photos by The Beauty Junkee and Kitchen Cow) at Kanin Club (again in the Ayala Technohub). I ate at Kanin Club before but it was only during our vacation that I was able to try the famous Krispy Dinuguan. Crunchy and tasty — yes but other than that, it was your good ole home-cooked flavorful dinuguan. I think it’s a bit overrated but it paired well with the lemon chicken. Would have tried the Kare-Kare but it was kinda ordering that together with dinuguan.
I think this is my new favorite restaurant in Manila: Contis. Delicious food and desserts! Thanks to my cousins for introducing us to this place. I got my fill of Chicken Kiev and Mango Bravo. My cousin ordered the prawns and it was divine!
Chowking and Tokyo Tokyo
A couple of fast food to fill in our tummies real quick. I was craving for my usual congee in Chowking but was sadly disappointed that they don’t serve this anymore. But the lomi was okay and the kangkong with bagoong was just the way I remembered. We were surprised that Tokyo Tokyo serves burgers now, so hubby just had to try that.
You can take a UP student out of UP but you can’t take UP out of this graduate. We just had to drop by Chocolate Kiss and order my favorite, Chicken ala Kiev. The sansrival was delicious too. After that first bite, I knew I missed the sansrival. Hope I can find that here in Saigon. Oh and I missed Chocolate Kiss’ bottomless iced tea too!
UP Street Food
So what is it with street food? I don’t know. They probably sprinkle cocaine on them because we just keep coming back. For me, it was fish balls and banana-Q. In UP, these street vendors are regulated so you are assured that the food is clean. Wish we could have tried the isaw though.
At Bonifacio High Street, we ate at Kabisera (Kabisera means “head of the table” in English). Again, I’ve tried this restaurant before and I knew we’d make our taste buds real happy. Try the Kare Kare here! And for appetizers, the okoy and krispy kangkong are just right!
If you don’t have family in Manila, harass a friend to ask you to dine in their place. LOL. No better place to have authentic Filipino cuisine but at home. We had a feast on lomi, biko (rice cake), and lumpia dipped in the hot and spicy Pinakurat vinegar!
Happy eating in Manila! 🙂